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Allen has its first new mayor in 23 years—and its first female mayor—but the temporary assignment has taken on even more significance.

On Tuesday night, Allen City Council appointed former Mayor Pro Tem Debbie Stout as the city’s interim mayor.

Stout will fulfill the remainder of former Mayor Steve Terrell’s term, which was set to end this May. Stout’s short tenure will be extended, though, as the city also voted Tuesday to postpone its May municipal elections until November due to the public health emergency created by the Chinese coronavirus.

That means Mayor Stout will preside over the city’s ongoing response to the pandemic, as well as this year’s budget and tax rate decisions.

“I’m honored at the trust [council members] have put into appointing me,” Stout said after taking the oath of office. “It’s a little bit more than the original contract, but I will do my best to work with these guys. I look forward to it.”

“Allen has been my home for most of my life,” she added. “I have nothing but the best intent for everything we can do to make it better and get through this crisis.”

Stout was an Allen council member from 2001-2012 and served as mayor pro tem from 2007-2012. She also temporarily filled a vacant council seat from January-May 2018.

She currently coordinates special fundraising events for Allen Community Outreach. Prior to joining the local nonprofit, she owned and operated a custom printing business.

Terrell had served as mayor since 1997. He was unable to run for city office again due to term limits approved by Allen voters last year.

He triggered an automatic resignation on December 9 when he filed as a candidate for county commissioner. He lost to incumbent Commissioner Darrell Hale in the March 3 Republican primary.

Terrell was able to “hold over” in office until a successor was selected. State law required the city to either hold a special election or appoint someone to fill the position within 120 days from Terrell’s resignation—by April 7.

In the 2020 municipal election, former council member Ken Fulk and Grace Chen will compete for the mayoral seat. Place 2 Council Member Carl Clemencich is running unopposed.

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a waiver allowing local governments to move elections scheduled for May 2 to the November 3 general election date, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Allen’s school board voted Monday to move the district’s May election to November as well.

Allen declared a public health emergency on March 16. All Collin County residents and businesses are subject to safety restrictions issued Tuesday.